Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Springtime On The Terrace

Spring has arrived and here at HFTS that means bringing out the MacKenzie-Childs dishes in the Taylor Series and dining alfresco out on the terrace. MacKenzie-Childs' web site notes that these dishes "mix and match in playful harmony." It was exactly that characteristic which drew me to these fanciful dishes in the 1980s.

Stack of Salad Plates in Wallcourt Collection Await Dessert

Pastel colors, fanciful patterns, ruffled edges, flat edges, polka dots, checks ~ The Taylor Series and the Wallcourt Collection mix it all up for delightful springtime dining.

A recent Heritage Society Home Tour brought a group of friends together here at HFTS. We enjoyed a light brunch of fresh fruit, spinach quiche, and mini sweet rolls out on the terrace before visiting the historical properties on tour. I had planned to share the brunch setting last week for Tablescape Thursday, but when I attempted to upload the photos, there was an error message. No photos uploaded, and all the photos had been erased on my camera card. The above photo, taken by a friend, is all I have to share from the brunch.

This week offered more perfect spring weather for alfresco dining, so a group of girlfriends came over Monday to enjoy a light meal and evening of conversation outdoors.

The ruffled dinner plates from MacKenzie-Childs' Taylor Series are each so full of pattern and color, that I kept added details to a minimum.

Pastel plaid tablecloth, Ambiance Vintage Garden white chargers, and vintage flatware were all that was needed to set the stage for the mix of patterns on the table.

Bearded Iris pattern "remembers the bright yellow
beards in botanical drawings of Richard's iris garden."

Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs founded the company in 1983. MacKenzie-Childs was purchased by Pleasant Rowland in 2001, and has since been sold to Twin Lakes Capital.

Aalsmeer pattern is named for the place "where
Victoria's sister and family lived in the Netherlands."
It represents the Dutch colors and boxes of tulips.

The Taylor Series was the original dinnerware collection of MacKenzie-Childs. It was "designed to be mixed at random like a happy ceramic bouquet."

King Ferry pattern "is a grid of fields and flowers
and sky and homestead to the MacKenzie-Childs family life."

These contemporary Majolica plates come in this ruffled edge or with a flat rim. Each is hand formed from red clay and painted by artisans in fanciful designs of the same color palette.

Myrtle pattern is named for a "Belfast lass who
wears a floral apron just like Milly Molly Mandy's aunt."

I liked the idea of mixing it up with different patterns, so when I first saw them in a local store in the 1980s, I decided to purchase a plate or two at a time, each in a different pattern.

Madison pattern for the "Indiana, smokestack,
riverboat, 4H, farmtown on the Mason-Dixon line where Victoria
finished growing up with Southern belles and pet pigs."

Some of the patterns are now retired, but MacKenzie-Childs continues to add new patterns and on occasion will bring a pattern out of retirement.

Monet pattern "honors Giverny's dining room dressed
in delphinium blue and yellow beyond the trellised gardens."

Over the years I've limited my selections to dinner plates and special serving pieces. I appreciate that they are each hand crafted and made by artisans in Aurora, NY. There is no doubt that I will ever tire of the charming designs and beautiful colors of these ceramics.

For a simple centerpiece I used potted spring annuals popped in a whimsical tin vase encircled with carrots.

Hand painted napkins in pinks and greens

are tucked into the handles of petite bunny creamers.

My friend Mary @ Home is Where the Boat Is was the inspiration for this idea. I had planned to use the bunny creamers filled with flowers at each place setting, but when I saw Mary's idea of using a mug filled with flowers as a napkin ring, I knew these would serve the same purpose.

If you missed seeing Mary's 

gorgeous Tulip d'Or table click here.

Each little creamer went home 

with a guest for the evening's party favor.

A yellow Kalanchoe plant offered the

perfect little bouquets with which to fill each creamer.

A simple light salad of fresh cucumbers and tomatoes was served in an Odd Fellows footed compote. The Odd Fellows pattern is "a medley of patterns patched together."

Parmesan crisp in a Keukenhof pattern

fluted bowl offered a little crunch to the meal.

Napa Rolls offered a rabbit friendly light entree for the spring evening. The large platter in the Bearded Iris pattern was a lucky thrift shop find a few years ago.

Filled with Napa cabbage, chicken, julienned carrots, and a blend of mint, basil, cilantro, and scallions, the Napa rolls were a big hit.

Sauces of spicy peanut and hot sriracha, here on a small oval platter in the Odd Fellows pattern, gave the Napa rolls an added tasty kick.

For dessert ~ carrot cake cupcakes, of course!

The cute carrot cupcake toppers

were purchased from World Market.

Iced pretzels offered 

a sweet/salty taste.

A special thank you to Jenn @ MacKenzie-Childs

direct service for help with 

specific descriptions for the pattern names.

Current patterns can be viewed here @ MacKenzie-Childs

Please help yourself to a scoop of citrus jelly beans

before heading off to visit others at the following parties this week.